Why Unwired Planet Might Revolutionize the Resolution of FRAND Licensing Disputes

J. Gregory Sidak


In October 2018, the Court of Appeal of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales issued its decision in Unwired Planet International Ltd v. Huawei Technologies Co. affirming Mr. Justice Colin Birss’ determination of the fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms for Huawei’s license to Unwired Planet’s portfolio of standard-essential patents (SEPs). Despite being the first U.K. judge to determine the FRAND terms of a license to a portfolio of SEPs, Mr. Justice Birss issued a decision that analyzes in an intellectually rigorous manner many complex legal and economic questions typically posed in FRAND licensing disputes. The Court of Appeal’s decision upholding Mr. Justice Birss’ decision mirrors that intellectual rigor. Courts and administrative agencies in other jurisdictions should strive to emulate the high degree of economic and legal sophistication that those two decisions, taken together, display. So should panels in international commercial arbitrations over FRAND or RAND licensing disputes.   

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